It's February now, which means the Major League Soccer pre-season is officially ready to blast off, with Real Salt Lake playing the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps and Chivas USA takin on Fresno Fuego in exhibition action today.
The next batch of games: Toronto vs. Partizan (in Turkey) on Wednesday, Portland Timbers vs. Ventura County Fusion on Friday,Sporting Kansas City vs. Columbus Crew on Saturday
and San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers on Sunday.
Speaking of the team you're probably checking this blog to learn more about: Sporting KC got out of town before the Snowpocalypse and have arrived in Phoenix ready to roll.Here's video of Kei Kamara, Jack Jewsbury, Davy Arnaud and Teal Bunbury talking about the trip and Michael Harrington's choice in footwear.
• There is a player, let's call him "The Unnamed Trialist," that I would love to know more about. During mini-camp, he repeatedly schooled defenders with one-on-one trickeration and slick moves. Unfortunately, the team cannot reveal who he is or where he's from. I saw him in that video above. As soon as I know more, you'll know more.
• That "huge" special announcement from Major League Soccer? The 2011 All-Star Game will be played at Red Bull Arena. No opponent announced. Not sure why Landon Donovan will be on the conference call this afternoon. (This only means thatthis story from a few weeks ago
was a crock.)
•The 10 most intriguing figures in MLS this year.
Teal Bunbury... not on the list. Huh?
•Great story about Sacir Hot,
The New York Red Bulls' one-time ballboy who just signed as a home-grown player.
• Yesterday wrapped up the transfer deadline for most soccer leagues (some Scandinavian leagues go until March and Major League Soccer goes until April). The biggest news of the day was the Fernando-Torres-to-Chelsea-Andy-Carroll-to-Liverpool mayhem. Well, the biggest news was probably that neither Manchester club was involved in the crazy spending spree yesterday.
Readthis . This . This . This. And this
• How great is Leo Messi? So great that news that hiscousin has signed with a second-division club is actually covered by The Associated Press
. That's the true measure of a man, the ability to lift your distant kin to media coverage.
• Make or break? Jozy Altidore and Freddy Adu, the twin pillars of American football hope,are both looking for elusive playing time in Turkey
• Steven Goff is reportingthat D.C. United are exploring bringing in American Charlie Davies on loan
from Sochaux in France. Davies, once a rising star in American soccer, was seriously injured in a 2009 car crash and has been on the road to recovery ever since.
•ESPN won the rights to Euro 2012 and 2016
• Stay safe everyone, the frozen death from above has started to matriculate from the sky. If you've got to hit the roads use caution. If you've got a snowday coming and you're a footie fan, you've got a great day coming. Manchester United, AC Milan, Arsenaland
Everton are in action today.Today's soccer on TV:
• ENG: Arsenal vs. Everton, 1:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel
• ITA: AC Milan vs. Lazio, 1:40 p.m., ESPN3.com
• ENG: Sunderland vs. Chelsea, 1:40 p.m., Fox Soccer+
• ENG: Manchester United vs. Aston Villa, 1:55 p.m., ESPN2
• ENG: West Bromwich Albion vs. Wigan Athletic, 4 p.m., FS+ (Delayed)